Tuesday night, the Montreal Canadiens entertained the visiting Buffalo Sabres. As is the pre-game custom TSN analysts James Duthie, Aaron Ward, Pierre LeBrun and Bob McKenzie discussed the strategies either team must apply in the game to be successful on the ice.
One of the bigger questions being analyzed by the panel of hockey experts is how does a team like the Buffalo Sabres, who is ranked 13 overall, defeat a strong and determined second place Canadiens squad? As the old saying goes, “knock on wood.” The Buffalo Sabres commanded control inside the Habs home rink, not for an instant did Buffalo play like they were in the basement of the NHL standings. The Sabres established a very physical presence on the ice that made the Canadiens speed a non-factor.
Usually it is the shooters that make the highlight reel but every once and while a goalie becomes the difference maker. This was the case in Buffalo’s battle with Montreal. Jhonas Enroth stole the show. He shined and had moments of pure brilliance. Some of the saves that Enroth made were mind boggling. Whether it was Michael Ryder, P.K. Suban and Brian Gionta shooting on the Sabres net, you could bet that #1 had all the angles covered.
The Swedish born net minder looked to be undaunted and in the zone during the 60 minute hockey game. Every NHL hockey fan knows how important points are in the standings. However this hockey season is a bit different due the shortened game schedule because of the effect the lockout had on the game.
They Sabres are sitting at 13th overall in the conference, with just 18 games left to play. An important factor that was noticed in yesterday’s game was that even with a shortened season, playoff spots aren’t promised to anybody. The Sabres squad applied a formula that made me believe that anything is possible in the game of hockey. Buffalo could definitely become a wildcard as the race to playoffs rage on.